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How to Make Your Essays Longer: Five Powerful Ways

John is a connoisseur of words who is currently on a journey to fully understand what it means to become a true wordsmith and marketer.

Woman having a hard time reaching her word count requirement

Learning how to lengthen essays can make your high school, university, and professional life a little less stressful. Not only do essays show how good you are at writing, but they demonstrate and highlight your understanding of a subject.

To professors and the admissions committee, your essay paper can make or break your application. Thus, making sure that you write an impressive piece is a must. Unfortunately, content isn't everything. During essay exams, you also need to put word count into consideration.

Why Do You Need to Reach the Required Word Count in Essay Writing?

Almost all institutions conducting an essay exam will ask you to reach the minimum word count. They also provide a limit. What's with these measures?

The answer is simple: equality.

Having requirements and limitations creates fairness. Professors will have almost an impossible time grading papers of varying lengths. One essay could be 2,000 words long, the next is 4,000, and the next is a mere 1,000-word paper. Asking all students to reach a specific range allows for equality, which is why word count exists on essay exams.

Apart from giving every student a fair chance, it also shows creativeness and communication skills. The more concise, careful, and original you are at delivering your content, the better your chance of producing a well-written essay.

With all that said, some of you might still be the 1,000-word guy. You may deliver valuable and meaningful content just like those who wrote lengthy pieces. The main concern is that not reaching the word count requirement for your essay can mean getting a poor grade, or worse, failing.

Fortunately for you, I got that covered. Here, I will show five powerful tips to help you learn how to make your essays longer.

Man confused on how to lenghten his paper

Five Ways on How to Make Your Essays Longer

Before anything else, I want things to be crystal clear that if you're into tricks, this article isn't for you. Stop reading now if you only plan to change the font size of certain characters, add extra space, or even hide text by changing its color to white. However, if you're here to put in work and make your writing sing, I assure you these tips on making your essays longer are of value.

Expand All Adverbs

For the average person, like you, it's normal not to be mindful of using adverbs in his/her writing. It's fair. You're not getting paid to avoid them, and adverbs allow you to describe anything you want quickly.

However, if you're taking an essay exam, it's best to be descriptive and specific. How to make your essays longer is a matter of technique. You can expand every adverb by turning it into a sentence. In my first paragraph, for example, I wrote "quickly." I could have instead written, "in a matter of seconds." Both provide the same meaning, but the latter gave me four more words.

After completing your essay, you should review it and focus on looking for all the -ly adverbs. You'll be surprised that you will see one in every 30-50 words.

If you were writing a 1,000-word essay, it might be possible that you've riddled it with over 50 adverbs. If you expand each one, you should get 200-300 words more! And what's more impactful? Your writing goes from good to great by just following this simple method.

If you have doubts, then you should have a look at this article that looks at using statistics to analyze what makes great writing.

Successful writers like Earnest Hemmingway, Mark Twain, and J.K. Rowling have the fewest usage of -ly adverbs. Hemmingway, per 10,000 words, only used 80 -ly adverbs, which is just once per 100 words.

Now, there are certain adverbs that I consider acceptable. And those are adverbs that sentences cannot replace. Adverbs that help sentences read smoother and allow the reader to understand your message immediately should be left untouched.

If your adverb expands to only two words, then using that adverb may be the better choice—like the last sentence in the previous paragraph: immediately = right away.

In a nutshell, use your best judgment. Adverbs are not always bad, but most of how we use them is. Here's Stephen King's take on adverbs: "I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."

Stop Using Contractions

Essay exams, application letters, and business reports are formal. Do not contract your words when writing them!

Yes, I know; I've been using contractions in this article. However, this piece is to educate and entertain. And there is no word count requirement.

Contractions are exceptional for marketing and any form of writing that aims to educate and entertain. They give this feel of relatability and comfort, and they deliver a friendly tone to your readers.

However, not using contractions shouldn't be taken the wrong way. Some of you might get the idea of expanding everything else to write more words. You might end up writing: from "you can write better by expanding adverbs" to "it is said that expanding adverbs can make your writing better."

You produced a passive voice unnecessarily, which made your writing sound technical and unengaging. I know this tip won't make that much of a difference. But it can be the only thing you need if you are short of a mere 20 words.

Add Headings and Sub-Headings

Once you've done the above, it's time for more complex stuff. Your essay shouldn't be a wall of text. If you're doing it that way, you should read an article about how to write an essay.

Well-written essays are made out of text blocks or sections that create a logical, step-by-step flow for your readers. It should feel like a linear journey where you build up the readers' knowledge.

Like math, you need to learn addition before proceeding to multiplication. If you're writing about global warming, your first few sections should be:

  • What is global warming?
  • What causes global warming?
  • Why do we need to be concerned?

It would be confusing if you talked about stopping global warming at the very start and then discussed its definition. The questions above serve as headings; they emphasize what readers should expect reading this section. It also serves as your outline.

If you're short of around 500 words, the best approach would be to add more headings. You may also expand your previous sections by adding a sub-heading, especially when that section is intricate.

Think about what you can add to make your essay more helpful, enjoyable, and impactful to your readers (whether you are writing a narrative or persuasive essay). If further information would supplement your message, don't be afraid to add that to your piece. How to make your essays longer is easy when your focus is to provide genuine value to your readers.

Include Examples

Now, examples don't always have to be a series of items. It can be a sentence or even a paragraph that demonstrates your proposition. What's imperative when writing examples is to make your statement more understandable.

Some of you might write examples for the sake of giving out one. The best practice is to identify sections in your essay that require one or need supporting evidence.

Suppose one of your sections discusses ways to reduce plastic pollution, don't just list items. Instead, write how each item works. Assume as if your readers don't know anything.

Don't settle for:

  • Reuse plastic bottles
  • Repurpose old bags

Go for:

  • Reuse plastic bottles: Cut them in half and use them as pots. Halved plastic bottles are practical seedling holders that can save you money.
  • Repurpose old bags: You can use old bags as storage compartments. For old and unused household items, these are the perfect container.

Not only were you able to lengthen your essay, but you were also able to make everything crystal clear for your readers. It's a win-win, and this technique can add over 50 words to every section.

Keep Paragraphs Fewer Than 50 Words

I know whenever I write "fewer," it feels like I'm contradicting myself.

Making sure that your paragraphs are fewer than 50 words does two things:

  • Your paragraphs are theme-focused and straightforward.
  • You write more paragraphs to compensate.

Your paragraph should be about a particular segment or theme. If you're currently talking about plastic bags as one of the causes of pollution, you should not suddenly include the benefits of using paper bags. Put the latter in the next paragraph.

By using this principle in your writing, you will make your essay more digestible. It also avoids unnecessary confusion, which usually kicks in whenever you're reading lengthy pieces.

Two question marks

So How Do You Make Your Essays Longer?

How you make your essays longer boils down to intent. If you want to deliver something outstanding, it's more than likely that length never becomes an issue. By adding the tips above, hitting that word count becomes a piece of cake.

Here's a summary of how to make your essays longer:

  • Expand adverbs: replace them with descriptive phrases or sentences that provide the same meaning but more detail.
  • Stop using contractions: do not shorten any phrases, but do not unnecessarily expand words too.
  • Add headings: outline your essay with sections; add more or use sub-headings to provide more helpful information.
  • Include examples: supplement by demonstrating; some of your statements may be complex; providing examples make your essay more accurate.
  • Write only 50 words per paragraph: do not have two-themed paragraphs; focusing on one segment at a time encourages you to write more.

© 2021 John Emerson Conde

Comments

Cynthia from Philippines on September 27, 2021:

thank you for sharing your idea

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